The Canadian Political Science Association began its activities in 1912 and was incorporated under the Canada Corporation Act in 1971.
If you want to know more about CPSA’s history, read “A century-old association, with a youthful bent”. The Association has a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee. Its administrative offices are located in Ottawa and it functions in Canada's two official languages.
The objects of the Association are:
- To encourage and develop political science and its relationship with other disciplines;
- To hold conferences, meetings and exhibitions for the discussion of political science problems and the exchange of views in matters relating to political science;
- To purchase, acquire, take by gift, any devise, bequest, or donation for the objects of the Association;
- To give grants, scholarships or fellowships to deserving individuals or groups of persons in pursuance of the objects of the Association;
- To publish journals, newspapers, books and monographs relating to political science.
The Association as such, will not assume a position upon any question of public policy not directly related to the discipline of political science or commit its members to any position thereupon.
The main purpose of the Canadian Political Science Association is to facilitate and promote the study of politics and government in Canada. Through varied activities, it seeks to connect students, researchers, journalists, practitioners, teachers and all individuals interested in the discipline to one another and to international resources for the study of politics and government.
The Association holds a large and well-attended annual academic conference within the framework of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. At this event, learned papers are presented and discussed; panels are presented and other modes of communication are undertaken. The conference also plays host to a growing teaching and professional focus, with sessions devoted to pedagogical approaches and innovations.
Through its publication, the Canadian Journal of Political Science (CJPS), the Association promotes the exchange of views on matters relating to political science and facilitates the growth, expression, and transmission of political science knowledge in and about Canada. CJPS’s articles are important tools for teaching in colleges, Cégeps and universities. Book reviews are also a source of information about new directions in the discipline and its diverse sub-fields.
The CPSA has a long-term institutional agreement with the Société québécoise de science politique. Since 1979, both associations conduct numerous joint activities including the production of the Canadian Journal of Political Science and the organization of public bilingual colloquia and events opened to the community. Together they foster the study of government and politics of/in the francophone political science community in Québec/Canada.
Because of the termination of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada program which previously funded travel to the annual conference for students giving papers, in 2013/2014 the Association targeted its fund-raising to this objective. Since 2013, it provides travel grants from its Development Fund to assist outstanding graduate students to come to the conference from distant places.
The CPSA sponsors the Parliamentary Internship Programme (PIP) and the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP). These non-partisan programmes are independent of the Federal Government/Government of Ontario and of any political party. The PIP is an initiative of the Association that operates on Parliament Hill under the auspices of the Speaker of the House of Commons. Established in 1975, the OLIP is also administered by the CPSA and supported by a financial grant from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.
The Association also supports administratively and runs a Program of Services that keep departments of political science across Canada informed of issues of interest to the discipline.
Finally, through its POLCAN listserv, the CPSA offers career resources. This list also connects professionals who have academic books or journals that they no longer wish to keep with graduate students and junior faculty who welcome the opportunity to acquire copies of books and journals that are no longer in print.
The CPSA is a Registered Canadian Charitable Organization. It is funded in major part by its members' fees, departmental memberships and by institutional subscriptions to the Canadian Journal of Political Science. It also receives grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the Journal and the Parliamentary Internship Programme. The Ontario Legislature Internship Programme receives most of its funding from the Ontario Legislature. Both internship programmes are also funded by private donors.
The Association is a member of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the International Political Science Association (IPSA), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. It has affiliations and exchange agreements with the New Zealand Political Studies Association, the Australian Political Studies Association, and the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom. Through these affiliations, it promotes the emergence, development, and maintenance of international research groups, networks, partnerships and writing teams. It also contributes to the development of multidisciplinary scholarly projects. In particular, the Association participates in the annual meetings and Biennial World Congress of IPSA, which has its Secretariat in Montréal.
The CPSA is also affiliated with regional organizations e.g., the British Columbia Political Science Association, the Prairie Political Science Association and the Atlantic Political Science Association. These affiliations facilitate communications and networking among Canadian faculty, teachers, researchers and students.
Finally, the CPSA has established relations with the Canadian Philosophical Association, and the American Association of University Professors through its Canadian politics section.